The Winter Ghosts
By Kate Mosse
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Copyright © 2009
It is April of 1933 and Freddie, an Englishman, is in Toulouse, France looking for a man who can help him translate a very important letter. However, it is not what the letter says that seems to be important, but how he came across this letter.
When Freddie was a teenager he lost his brother George, a soldier during World War I. Freddie went many years trying to cope with this loss, but in 1924, on his 21st birthday, he snapped. He ended up spending a few months in a sanatorium to regain his physical and mental health.
Fast forward to 1928; Freddie finds himself driving through the French Pyrenees to meet some friends at a resort. He drives into a snow storm and ends up in an accident. He stumbles his way into a local village looking for assistance. He finds an inn where he is welcomed hospitably and invited to a local celebration. While there he meets the beautiful and delicate Fabrissa. From that point on Freddie and Fabrissa’s lives are entwined in a way that is too difficult for anyone to believe. This chance meeting will not only change Freddie’s outlook on life, but also change the outlook of an entire town.
Mosse has written a moving book about loss and grief in the wake of war and tragedy, and an oddly tragic love story that spans centuries. While our protagonist feels he has nothing to live for, his happening upon this village and Fabrissa helps him (albeit too simply) to come to terms with his loss, and he feels the strong and overpowering urge to find Fabrissa again and repay her kindness.